In Depth

New ‘millennial’ railcard to go on sale: who is eligible and how to buy one

Card will cut train fares by one-third for people aged 26-30, but no firm date has yet been set for launch

A new discount railcard for train travellers aged 26 to 30 will finally go on general sale nationwide before the end of the year.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) confirmed the new “millennial” railcard be available in late 2018, following its announcement last year and a one-off sale earlier this year.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “It means more young people can explore Britain for less using our trains and benefit from saving a third on rail travel, making it cheaper to get out and enjoy the seaside or visit family and friends.”

Back in March, 10,000 of the railcards - enough for one in 500 of the eligible population - were released on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, the sign-up site was unable to cope with the high traffic as millennials nationwide battled to secure the passes.

Many likened the experience to attempting to buy tickets to a music festival, according to the London Evening Standard. Londoner Emily Thomas tweeted: “Getting a 26-30 railcard is worse than getting a Glastonbury ticket.”

The RDG group apologised and has said that they believe the nationwide roll-out will go more smoothly.

What will the card offer?

The 26-30 railcard is an extension to the popular 16-25 Railcard, and “industry bodies predict that cardholders will save an average of £125 a year”, reports Sky News.

For a £30 fee, the new railcard will offer one-third off most leisure fares for 12 months.

However, anyone travelling before 10am on a weekday will have to pay a minimum fare of £12. This is the same restriction which applies to the existing 16-25 railcard.

But unlike the card for younger passengers, with the new scheme “that minimum fare will also apply on weekdays throughout July and August”, says the BBC.

Full details - and a savings calculator - are available on the railcard website.

Who will be eligible for it?

An estimated 4.5 million people could benefit from the 26-30 Railcard.

But by the time the railcard goes on general sale nationwide, “around one million people who were in the target age range when Philip Hammond made his announcement about the card will be too old to qualify”, says The Independent’s Simon Calder.

Although the decision to make travel cheaper for greater numbers of young people has been widely welcomed, some have said it does not go far enough to solve the transport and economic problems affecting the UK.

How do you get it?

It is a “digital only” card, meaning passengers need to use their smartphone to download it.

If those wanting the card do not have a smartphone or their battery runs out while travelling, train companies will permit them to download their card onto another person’s phone.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) told the BBC a digital card was safer than having a physical version, as an actual card was easier to lose.

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